Finding Jesus in the Feeding Trough
by Amy Stoehr
Precious, beautiful Lifestreams beloveds, I love You so much! December is a time of sparkling wonder, deep wells of Joy, Christmas worship, crimson red and pine green, glistening gold, Luke 1 and 2, dancing candlelight and gloriously decorated trees. Did you get to experience Lauren’s amazing tree Tuesday? It is inspiringly beautiful, every one of the 360 degrees of
ceiling to floor loveliness decorated with beautiful remembrances and so much love. I think she needs to video and post it because it will make the whole world happy. But in case she doesn’t have the time for the video project this week, here’s a picture of that masterpiece.
Can we just pause and talk about our Emmanuel, God with us, our Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God and Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace right now! He is the living Word, the Light of the world, the Lord of all, our Redeemer, our Healer And our Beloved. As Maria shared with us Tuesday... the Lord wants us to delight in Him every day, that is where we will grow in peace and joy... she also challenged us not to look religiously at what is familiar, but renew our minds to the fullness of Who He is and who we are in Him as we carry His glory. Oh, and remember this? “We need the hope of Jesus who came to this earth as a baby ... and we need the power of the Resurrection.” She showed us the word “cancer” in the Bible in 1 Timothy 2:17, and let’s pray that today: that the message of Jesus through us will spread like “cancer” to the people we influence. If you experience a challenging day this week, remember Maria said that on the other side of your worst day is an upgrade! We are seated with Him in heavenly places, we have His DNA, we are remembering who we are in Him and Who He is in us … His living Word is our only circumstance, everything else is subject to change (I added that!).
I love reading Luke chapter 1 and 2 every day this month. And earlier this week I started thinking about Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem when she was nine months pregnant(!), and that outside stable room, and her giving birth to the Savior of the world there and … that manger.
750 years before that starry night, Micah the prophet declared by the Holy Spirit that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). And He was! The angels told the shepherds they would find Jesus in a manger, and they did! He was born in Bethlehem, in the most unlikely place, a lower room area where animals were housed, and he was wrapped in cloths (strips of rags) and laid carefully in that manger by his mama and Joseph.
Manger is another word for “feeding trough”.
Think about it, Mary and Joseph laid Jesus in a literal feeding trough after He was born, and He spent His first night on earth there. We know the shepherds came to visit and beheld in wonder this amazing sight! I was thinking how just weeks before Jesus was there, animals were eating out of that feeding trough. I’m not sure what animals were there the night He was born, but we know for sure that the donkey Mary rode on was there! But in the days leading up to that night, and probably the days after, it was a simple, rustic, wooden feeding trough for animals. I'm sure that outdoor room smelled and felt like a place animals stayed, and that unassuming feeding trough was hardly a crib fit for a King, the Redeemer of the world.
But it was no accident that we would be able to have the visual picture of the Bread of Life, Jesus, being found in a feeding trough. Remember that Jesus said, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.” When He shared the last supper with His disciples He likened the Bread to His Body that we were to partake of. He is the living Bread for us, and for every person.
Today He invites us to feed on Him, the Living Word, every day as it was in the quietness of that first night, in our secret place. Just as Jesus was found in that feeding trough by the shepherds, We will find Him in the feeding trough of His Word!
Even the name Bethlehem means "House of Bread". These are all intentional prophetic pictures for us! We will find Jesus, that living Bread of Life, in the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and from Genesis to Revelation. This Christmas and every day from now, let’s hunger after Him and find Him in the Feeding Trough of His Word!
As we fellowship with Him there, Seated at the Table with Him, we will be filled with His fullness and glory continually and we will not be "conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds." Thank You, Father for Your indescribable Gift. Thank You, Jesus for being Emmanuel, God with us, the living Word. Beloved Holy Spirit, we love and honor You, our abiding Helper and Teacher Who empowers us and fills us ... would You help us bring every precious one and every person we encounter, and those you give us to seek after to minister to, to find You, the Bread of Life in the feeding trough of Your Word. We declare that we are living epistles of Your Word, torchbearers of Your glory, rivers of living water flow from us to every person. We love You precious Emmanuel, God with us.